TUC accused of failing to keep track of Middle East after backing anti-annexation motion

Body’s general council backed a Unite proposal to condemn Israeli move now off the table


The Trade Union Congress  (TUC) has been accused of failing to keep track of the Middle East events after issuing a statement at its annual conference condemning postponed proposals by the Israeli government to annexe parts of the West Bank.

The TUC’s general council confirmed on Tuesday that it had backed a motion from the Unite trade union which called for opposition to annexation – and suggested Israel was becoming an “apartheid” state.

The JC revealed last week how motion 66 was the only submitted for debate in the international section of this year’s TUC conference, which took place online and was dominated elsewhere by debate on the need for a global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Luke Akehurst, Director of We Believe in Israel, responded  to the TUC General Council Statement on Israel by telling the JC: “It is disappointing that the TUC General Council has issued a statement that focuses excessively on proposals from earlier this year for annexation/extension of sovereignty in the West Bank which are no longer being actively pursued following the Israeli peace deal with the UAE.

“The strategic relationship between Israel and the Arab world is changing for the better in an unprecedented and dramatic way with the peace deals with first UAE and now Bahrain.

“The TUC’s statement oddly says nothing about this. With its odd focus on a proposal that is off the agenda, and no mention of the key recent development, the statement reads as though the TUC does not follow events in the region very closely.”

Motion 66 condemned the Israeli government’s now-postponed plan to annex part of the West Bank and calls for the unions to  “fully support and play an active role in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s actions.”

It also said annexation would be a “significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid”.

But Mr Akehurst added: “The TUC’s response to motion 66 on their order paper debates semantics over the term ‘apartheid’, the use of which is grossly offensive in the context of the debate about Israel and the Palestinians, as it makes a false and absurd comparison between the complexities of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and the horrific racism of apartheid South Africa.

“It is also confused in that it reiterates welcome support for ‘a two-state solution based on security for both Israel and Palestine’ but then promotes ‘the right of return’, which could destroy the two-state solution by giving both states a Palestinian majority population.”



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